Pillow Pounding

Expressing anger is not always the best way to deal with it. In expressing anger we might be practicing or rehearsing it, and making it stronger in the depth of our consciousness  – Thich Nhat Hanh


I’ve read a fair share of Buddhist philosophy, and it is truly inspiring…but it is also a bit maddening. Dealing with angers and frustrations are a daily occurrence in our busy college lives. How can we possibly healthfully address these events if we do not express them? Hanh goes on to say that pounding a pillow may provide temporary relief, but it does not get to the root of the problem. I understand this. It is quite straightforward, but for a person that has difficulty expressing their anger, it is much easier said than done. We are not all 30 year year veterans of practicing mindfulness. It might be the duality and relative black and white nature by which I approach situations that is prohibiting my transformation. In dealing with my girlfriend, who is quite a confrontational person, I tend to close up and withhold my true emotions in fear of escalating the situation. While I realize this is not a healthy approach, I feel like it is the lesser of two evils. The most evil would be expressing my anger while it is at its peak. 

The conversations that we have had in class have opened my eyes to the fact that you are all such positive and loving people. This may not be as big of a struggle for you all, but it becomes bothersome when I feel like an author oversimplifies a solution to a problem. “Oh you want to punch the person who just cut you off on in the interstate in the face? Just breathe and be mindful.” Thanks Thich Nhat Hanh, but I am not a saint. The thing is that in my heart I know it is possible to achieve this peace — a peace that makes the daily frustrations of our lives roll off of us like water on a duck. So what are we to do? Sit? Breathe? Sit and breathe? 

I know this post has brought up more questions than providing wisdom or answers. I am currently not in a mood conducive to telling all of you this wonderful nugget of life that has been unearthed in my life. I have given you shovels. Please help me dig.

(sorry if this post isn’t as positive as the others. I’m still fuming after the Titans loss…among other things. I’m going to go punch my pillow)